Last Updated on August 31, 2020 by Matt Gardener
Naturally, tomatoes thrive under direct sunlight for about 8 hours, but many people still want to know if tomato plants can grow in indirect sunlight. So when you read or hear someone ask ‘can tomatoes grow in indirect sunlight,’ it is not abnormal.
Well, there’s a YES and NO answer to this question as it’s totally dependent on a few factors, which we will look at below.
Tomatoes can thrive in both conditions, but with some special attention paid to them, they not only grow healthily but also produce optimal fruits, as when due. If you are interested in understanding how tomatoes grow in indirect sunlight, continue with the rest of the article below.
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Light Requirement for Tomato Growth
Tomatoes’ growth and adequate sunshine go hand in hand. Tomatoes require adequate sunshine to produce vital fruits. Tomatoes require at least six hours of sunlight for them to grow and produce fruits.
However, eight hours of sunlight is adequate for tomatoes to bear fruits, and if you want more fruits, you can expose them to long hours of direct sunlight.
Sunlight is an important growth factor for tomatoes because tomatoes convert sunlight into energy, and the energy produced is used in bearing fruits. This is why the more sunlight the tomato plants receive, the more energy they conserve and the more fruits they bear.
One may wonder whether sunlight plays any role in the ripening of tomato fruits. The answer to that is pretty simple; it is no. Tomato fruits ripen as a result of ethylene gas and heat. Sunlight only plays a key role in the growth of tomato plants and in the production of tasty tomato fruits.
This would now take us to understand whether tomato plants can grow in indirect sunlight.
Can Tomatoes Grow In Indirect Sunlight?
The answer to this question can be yes and no. Like earlier stated, tomato plants require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to grow and a maximum of 8 hours or more supply of direct sunlight. Going by this, we can conclude that tomato plants cannot grow in indirect sunlight.
However, this amount of sunlight needed by tomato plants must not be obtained consecutively. It could be split into a few hours’ intervals, but in the end, a sum of the total number of required hours of exposure to sunlight should be achieved. So, going by this, we can also conclude that tomatoes can grow in indirect sunlight.
What this means is that, for as long as the tomato plants are exposed to direct sunlight for a good number of hours, the tomato plants can grow in shades or in indirect sunlight. Also, if supplied with an adequate amount of nutrients and moisture, the tomato plants will produce ample fruits.
But, if you are looking to grow your tomato plants entirely in indirect sunlight, the plants will not do well. This is because tomatoes, just like other vegetables, require sunlight to grow and cannot do well if they do not get direct sunlight even for a few hours of the day.
Direct sunlight at different hours of the day has different effects on tomato plants. For instance, morning sunlight provides the plants with a high-intensity light with no excess heat like the noonday sunlight.
Places where the mercury rises in the afternoon, several hours of exposure to the morning sunlight, would be highly beneficial to the tomato plants.
Noonday sunlight comes up between 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. This is when the sunlight is very hot, and the sun’s ray at this time might be intense for the tomato plants. The sun’s intensity at this time varies from place to place.
At noon, shades are required to shield the plant from the stress of the sunlight. You can use shade cloths or sunflowers, strategically placed around to offer the tomato plants relief from the intense noonday sunlight.
The afternoon sun is the second optimal sunlight required by the tomato plants. This is because it is not as harsh as the noonday sunlight. It comes up after 2 p.m. and is well desired by growing tomato plants.
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Tomatoes can grow in direct and indirect sunlight but would not grow in just indirect sunlight. Growing the plant in indirect sunlight will deprive it of the opportunity to make its own energy from the sunlight, which would enable it to grow healthily, and produce good fruits.
However, growing tomato plants with borne fruits can have its fruits ripened when placed in indirect sunlight. That is because tomato fruits need heat and not sunlight to ripen.